FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Jets will take their chances with Geno Smith.
Coach Todd Bowles, looking to spark an anemic offense, announced Wednesday that he is benching struggling quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and replacing him with Smith, the fourth-year player once considered to be the team’s signal caller of the future.
Smith was inserted late in Monday night’s 28-3 loss at Arizona, but immediately after the game, Bowles said he would stick with Fitzpatrick on Sunday against the Ravens.
By Tuesday afternoon, however, Bowles had backed down from those comments, telling reporters he had revisited his decision and planned to discuss it with his staff before naming his Week 7 starter. He explained he would never announce such a change in a postgame news conference because he’d want to discuss it with his assistants and general manager first.
Bowles, however, said the decision was his alone, an assertion backed up by owner Woody Johnson.
“Felt like it would be a good time to make a change and see what he (Smith) can do,” Bowles told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “”When you have guys of equal talent … and one’s not playing as well, you try to turn to the other one. That’s what we did.”
Fitzpatrick, who signed a one-year, $12 million contract in July, was 16-of-31 for 174 yards with an interception against the Cardinals. For the season, he has completed just 57 percent of his passes and has tossed five TDs and 11 interceptions. His 63.4 passer rating is the lowest among any QB who has attempted at least 100 passes this season.
In relief of Fitzpatrick on Monday, Smith was 4-of-6 for 31 yards with a fumble and an interception.
The Jets are 1-5 and have lost four straight, scoring just 36 points in that span.
“I’m just going to go out there, and we’re going to play hard together, man,” Smith said. “We’re going to play hard together, and every single guy on both sides of the ball has got to do their job. And I’m just going to go out there and do mine.”
Bowles would not say if he envisions Smith remaining the starter for the rest of the season, adding it’s possible Fitzpatrick could re-enter the picture.
“He’s our starter right now,” the coach said of Smith. “We’ll see how things go down the line. But I can only go week to week.”
Fitzpatrick, who will serve as the Jets’ No. 2 quarterback, admitted he’s disappointed about being benched.
“The guy that was the leader of this team last year and the beginning of this year wants to be out there, but it’s a decision that Todd made, and I’ve got to respect his decision, but I don’t have to like it,” he said.